SAPS war on dagga gathers steam with big busts across the country

The SAPS war on dagga has made for good headlines but many have questioned the extensive use of state resources to combat the trade in the intoxicating plant.

SAPS war on dagga gathers steam with big busts across the country

The South African Police Service (SAPS) have used the national lockdown to crack down on the illicit trafficking and trade of dagga.

In separate busts in the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, this week SAPS members seized over 300 kgs of dagga.

Richmond SAPS stop alleged trafficker

Richmond SAPS intercepted a vehicle transporting 200kg of dagga being transported to KwaZulu-Natal from the Eastern Cape.

SAPS war on dagga: Police recovered bags of marijuana inside a vehicle weighing more than 200 kilograms. Photo: SAPS

“A 47-year-old suspect is expected to appear in the Richmond Magistrate’s Court on 14 May 2020, for dealing in dagga,” SAPS spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said.

South African Police Service

“An intelligence-driven operation was conducted on 12 May 2020 at 23:00, by police officers from Richmond SAPS, Ixopo SAPS, K9 Unit and other security agencies following information about dagga that will be transported from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal.

“The vehicle was spotted near the R56 highway in Richmond with one occupant. Police stopped the vehicle, and a search was conducted. Police recovered bags of dagga inside the vehicle weighing more than 200 kilograms. 

“The suspect was immediately arrested and he was taken to Richmond police station for detention,” Colonel Mbele added.

“His vehicle was also seized for further investigation.”

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula applauded the SAPS members from Richmond and Ixopo for their vigilance which led to the arrest of the dagga trafficking suspect.

Kimberley SAPS find 105kg of dagga in shack

Acting on intelligence gathered from the community, Kimberley SAPS searched a shack in the Transit Camp shantytown. Members found 27 bags of dagga in the shack and arrested a 38-year-old man.

“The Provincial Detective Organised Crime members pounced on a 38-year-old male suspect at his shanty in Transit Camp, Kimberley,” SAPS Spokesperson Captain Sergio Kock said.

“On Thursday, 14 May 2020, at about 10:40, the SAPS members followed up on information regarding dagga sales in Transit Camp.

SAPS war on dagga
SAPS war on dagga: Police searched the shack and found 27 bags of dagga hidden behind the bed. Photo: SAPS/supplied

“Police searched the shack and found 27 bags of dagga hidden behind the bed. The dagga weighs 105 kg and has an approximate street value of R525 000. The suspect was arrested for dealing in dagga and is expected to appear in the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court soon.

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The Provincial Commissioner for the Northern Cape, Lieutenant General Risimati Peter Shivuri commended the SAPS Kimberley members for a job well done and thanked the community for their assistance in this case. 

“The Northern Cape will continue to intensify the COVID-19 operations, in order to squeeze the space for criminals to operate,” General Shivuri said on Thursday.

Source : The South African More   

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Making tracks: Ancient footprints shed light on early humans [photos]

Thousands of years ago, a group of people took a walk in what is now Engare Sero, Tanzania. The footprints they left behind are now offering insights into ancient human life.

Making tracks: Ancient footprints shed light on early humans [photos]

The group of more than 400 footprints was made sometime between 5 000 and 19 000 years ago at a site called Engare Sero, south of Tanzania’s Lake Natron.

It’s the largest group of human footprints ever found in Africa, and offers a glimpse at what humans in the so-called Late Pleistocene period looked like, as well as how they may have gathered food.

Ancient human trials

“Sites like Engare Sero form over very short time intervals, and so they capture snapshots in time of ancient humans moving across their landscapes,” said Kevin Hatala, assistant professor of biology at Chatham University, who led the research.

“Given the rarity and value of this variety of fossil evidence, part of what makes our discovery exciting is its magnitude, with over 400 footprints preserved on the same volcanic ash surface,” he told AFP.

“However, we have also been able to learn some really interesting things from these direct windows to the behaviour of the group that walked across the footprint surface.”

Analysing the footprints was a complex process. In 2009, when the research team first visited the site – discovered by a local Maasai community – just 56 footprints were visible, exposed by natural erosion.

A party of more than a dozen adults and adolescents left footprints in volcanic ash in the Pleistocene. Mudflats in the shadow of the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano captured a huge trove of ancient human footprints. Photograph by Robert Clark, National Geography image Collection

Three years of additional excavations revealed hundreds more prints, made by humans but also animals such as zebra and buffalo.

Analysing tracks

The prints were made in wet volcanic mudflow, which would have dried quickly into a hard surface, said Hatala.

That, combined with other evidence including the lack of overlap on footprints, strongly suggests the impressions were made by a group travelling together at the same time, rather than by individuals moving across the same area at different times.

The research team focused on “distinct trackways” where they could clearly discern stride distances and footprint length, looking for more clues.

Based on the size of the prints and the stride lengths, they determined the group included four adult men, 19 adult women and two younger boys.

Smaller feet, shorter strides

There is some room for error, they acknowledge, with the possibility that the smaller feet and shorter strides they attributed to women could in some cases belong to children or adolescents of either gender.

The trackways also allowed the researchers to extrapolate the height of the people who made them, revealing some comparatively tall men among the group, including one standing an estimated 1.83 metres.

Skeletons from around the period in east Africa “have suggested generally tall and long-limbed body builds,” said the study published Thursday in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

“However, skeletal material from this time period and region is generally scarce, underscoring the value of the relatively large sample of anatomical data that is preserved on the Engare Sero footprint surface.”

‘Direct snapshot’

The make-up of the travelling group also offers clues about their lifestyle.

In modern-day hunter-gatherer communities, large numbers of women rarely move in a group, unaccompanied by children or a similar number of adult men, except when foraging for food.

The make-up of the ancient group implied by analysis of the footprints led the team to theorise that is what the group of women may have been doing.

“The behaviour itself isn’t surprising to see in a human group from this time period,” said Hatala. “But the opportunity to witness the behaviour through this direct snapshot is exceptional.”

Hatala acknowledged the theory remains just that for now, and more may eventually be revealed by further excavations at the site. Some tracks exposed by erosion on one part of the site lead to areas still covered by sediment, offering the promise of further prints.

Excavation is on hold for the moment though, because the site is vulnerable to erosion and researchers are hoping to come up with a conservation plan before continuing work.

by Sara Hussein © Agence France-Presse

Source : The South African More   

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